Tuba Zengin Finds Fulfilling Career Path After Transitioning from Clinical Practice

Tuba Zengin

Tuba Zengin

Global Medical Affairs – HIV
Location: Stockley Park, UK
Joined Gilead: February 2013

As a physician who began her Gilead career at our Turkey affiliate, Tuba Zengin brings several important perspectives to her current role on our Global Medical Affairs team in the UK. Learn how Tuba’s experience at Gilead has enabled her to continue working in her passion and expand her impact on HIV.

Q: What drew you to your field and how did you come to work at Gilead?

I began my career in Turkey as an infectious disease physician and spent 10 years in clinical practice providing care to people living with HIV, viral hepatitis and other serious conditions. After a decade of this very fulfilling and personal work, I wanted to find a way to continue to grow my career and broaden my impact. I joined the Medical Affairs team at Gilead’s Turkey affiliate and spent five years there before moving to our Stockley Park office in the UK, where I’m now part of the Global Medical Affairs team.

Coming to work for Gilead and then transferring to a global role in the UK were the best decisions I ever made. Working to educate healthcare providers and other groups about HIV has enabled me to do even more for people living with HIV than I was able to in clinical practice.

Q: Why did you choose Gilead?

When I was working in the clinic and managing the care of people living with HIV, there were limited treatment options to try to help control the disease. And then I saw this amazing transition, led by Gilead, to once-daily single tablet regimens. When an opportunity came up to be part of the company responsible for so many of the significant scientific advancements that have helped change the outlook for people living with HIV, I couldn’t pass it up. As an MD, I also wanted to be somewhere with heavy scientific exchange, and I knew from my prior experience with the company as a clinician that Gilead was doing groundbreaking science.

Q: How would you describe the company’s culture?

Gilead is a place where you are challenged every day to reach your full potential and look beyond the edge of what’s possible. No two days are alike, and every day you learn something new because the therapeutic areas we’re working in are so dynamic and there’s a culture of helpfulness and friendliness. I can say that I have never met a colleague who said, “No, I don’t have time to teach you.” If you want to learn something, people will help you learn.

We’re also very focused on finding solutions. That’s our mindset, so when obstacles or challenges arise that make things seem impossible, we work together to find ways to make them possible.

Q: What can you say about the opportunities for career growth at Gilead?

Because of the way we collaborate with colleagues around the world, there are so many opportunities for career development here. In my case, I started at Gilead Turkey but had exposure to many people in global roles. I was able to grow my internal network in this way and an exciting career pathway emerged. I’ve met many other people at Gilead who have a similar story of having started their careers here on another team or in a different country before growing into a new role.

The company also supports continuous learning and professional development through a number of optional seminars, online modules, trainings and mentoring opportunities. I’ve always felt like Gilead provides the right resources for us to constantly improve ourselves.

Q: Can you reflect on your experience as a woman working in healthcare and how Gilead supports its female employees?

Gilead’s focus on supporting equality of all groups, including women, is particularly important to me. As a female medical doctor, I’ve been in situations prior to joining Gilead where people shook hands with male counterparts but not me, or where people assumed I wasn’t a doctor even though I was wearing a white coat and stethoscope. It’s important that both individuals and institutions raise their voices against patriarchy in all forms.

In my experience, Gilead is a place where your voice is genderless. It’s a place where everyone is seen as equal, which brings out our best performance. I’m inspired by the many talented women leaders we have at Gilead and I think we’re on a good path working to ensure gender equity and empower women.

Q: Why is working at Gilead more than "just a job"?

For me, the best thing about working at Gilead is that I’m working in my passion. It’s been the most rewarding experience of my career to be at Gilead as we’ve been working this past decade to introduce new therapies that may help contribute to long-term treatment success, as well as prevention tools and programs designed to help overcome the global HIV epidemic.

Our ultimate goals in HIV are, of course, developing a cure and helping to end the epidemic – both of which I’m hopeful will happen before the end of my career. As an HIV community, we’ve accomplished so much in the past 30-plus years, but I believe the best is yet to come.

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